Garden grass and branch shredder: selection rules

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Today we are talking about garden shredders for grass and branches that can turn waste from economic activities into a source of heating fuel, raw material for a compost pit or mulch. Well, or at least effectively dispose of them. You will be surprised, but chippers in the household can play a really important role..

Choice of drive and power

The wood chipper can be driven by different energy sources, as a rule, electricity, built-in internal combustion engine or power taken from other equipment is used for these purposes.

The option with an electric motor will be most appropriate for a small area where there is no need to process hundreds of kilograms of branches annually. The electric drive is characterized by low noise, compactness and ease of use. The disadvantages are the low productivity limit and the need to organize a stationary crushing point, the impossibility of autonomous operation without a portable generator.

Electric garden shredder IKRA MOGATEC GSL 2800Electric garden shredder IKRA MOGATEC GSL 2800

Gasoline powered crushers are of the middle power class and are most popular in households with their own garden. The main benefit of an autonomous drive is the ability to process branches directly at the cutting site. As a rule, chippers are equipped with a four-stroke carburetor internal combustion engine; two-stroke variations are less common. The built-in clutch unit helps to isolate the engine group from shock loads, however, operation at consistently high speeds leads to systematic wear of the sliding units, which is why the engine has a very limited engine life..

Garden chopper MTD 475 with gasoline engineGarden chopper MTD 475 with gasoline engine

In the third version of the chopper drive, it is meant to connect a garden walk-behind tractor or other agricultural machinery to the power take-off shaft. Such devices are used, as a rule, in horticultural and gamekeeping farms; they are very convenient to use for cleaning green spaces from unwanted growth. As a rule, a chipper connected to the PTO shaft is used in a set with a vehicle and a cargo trailer, which helps to significantly speed up work.

Trailed wood shredderTrailed wood shredder

Power selection must be taken very seriously. On the one hand, the higher it is, the larger the branches can be processed and the higher the crushing speed. However, this also increases the cost of the device. Practice shows that for a personal plot the practical power ceiling is 2.5–3 kW, and for orchards – 4.5–6 kW, which is enough for crushing branches up to 50 mm thick. Larger plant waste is much more convenient to dispose of by incineration or to store in chocks as fuel for a brazier or a solid fuel boiler..

Crushing system

Depending on the internal structure of the chipper and its kinematic scheme, the type of product at the outlet may differ significantly. Also, different crushing systems differ in performance, durability and ease of maintenance..

The flexible cutter system works like a lawn trimmer. Such shredders, as a rule, are electrically driven and are intended exclusively for processing cut grass into silage mass or obtaining raw materials for a compost pit from cuttings of fruit bushes. Chippers of this type are characterized by low versatility, their popularity is extremely low..

Travomulcher - grass chopperTravomulcher – grass chopper

Knife shredders cut waste with two massive hardened steel plates with sharp edges, located on parallel shafts. The rotation of the knives is synchronized, so that they can cut thick branches, forming at the exit thin “tablets” of the cross-section. Due to shock loads, the execution of such mechanisms should be of the highest quality possible, and the drive power should be as high as possible. Usually these are trailed chippers powered by PTO or stationary units with a gasoline engine. An electrically driven knife system is also used, but it is usually of the disc type, and fine chips are produced at the exit.

Garden shredders with knivesGarden shredders with knives

As garden shredders, universal crushing-type shredders are often used, in which two shafts with a set of split discs act as a working body. This is the most versatile type of machine, insensitive to the presence of inorganic waste and stones in the processed waste. With a relatively low drive power, such devices are capable of processing even very large branches, forming small chips at the exit, however, the productivity of this processing method is low.

Rotary disc shredder

Milling shredders are very popular in civilian applications. With a relatively high processing speed and a large size of processed branches, such chippers cope perfectly with soft tops, and with shrubs, and with thick branches. However, the kinematics of such devices is quite complex, they require periodic maintenance, cleaning the cutter and relatively high drive power..

Milling wood shredderMilling wood shredder

In hammer chippers, crushing is done in a millstone. These shredders have become widespread due to the possibility of their use both for the disposal of plant waste and for the preparation of silage or grain feed for livestock farms. Hammer-type chippers do not have the ability to process large waste, but they are cheap and powerful enough.

Hammer crusherHammer hay and grain crusher

Ergonomic and safety aspects

Almost all modern garden shredders have a well thought out scheme of work, which ensures high convenience and safety of handling them. Nevertheless, there are a number of nuances regarding the design features and the procedure for using the technique..

One of the most important indicators of a chipper is the level of noise generated, which is especially important if the work is carried out on the site where a residential building is located. Electric grinders create the least noise, their use in the vicinity of suburban housing is most preferable. Trailed shredders driven by a PTO shaft are practically silent by themselves, however, their operation requires a nearby engine, although the presence of a full-fledged muffler partly solves the problem. A gasoline engine as a chipper drive is considered the noisiest option.

Garden shredder Caiman DEVOR X50SGarden shredder Caiman DEVOR X50S

The size, shape and details of the hopper device determine the convenience of work and safety of use. The neck must necessarily have a socket, the sufficient width of which eliminates the need for preliminary chopping of branches. Also, a screen can be included in the design of the receiving neck to protect the operator from accidentally flying out chips. Some shredders have an additional set of knives for pre-cutting – also a very useful option, due to which the load on the main tool is reduced. A similar effect is also achieved due to the automatic feeding device: in shredders with a power of more than 3-4 kW, this mechanism helps to avoid exceeding the load on the knives. The speed control function will be extremely useful to help you set up the equipment operating mode for crushing various materials..

For portable electric or gas powered chippers, a transport system is preferred. As a rule, it is a set of a pair of monolithic wheels, however, in the most sophisticated designs there is a function of setting to a stationary position using a microlift. It is also advisable to have a collection basket or bag for recycled waste, this will help keep the jobsite clean and facilitate the transport of shredded branches. To ensure the safety of the user, a pusher should be provided by the manufacturer, it is also desirable to have a basic tool in the kit for disassembly and maintenance..

Manufacturer’s choice

Most gasoline and electric shredders are supplied to the market by companies specializing in the production of gasoline equipment and garden tools. Also, electric and trailed chippers can be manufactured by local enterprises, even garage craftsmen are quite active in assembling equipment according to their own drawings that is not inferior in performance to equipment from more or less well-known brands.

Electric shredder Bosch AXT Rapid 2000Bosch AXT Rapid 2000

The highest quality in technical performance, but at the same time the most expensive representatives of portable chippers are Makita, Bosch, Husqvarna, as well as Stihl, better known under the Viking trademark. In the middle price segment, Ryobi, Al-Ko and Stiga equipment occupies a confident position. They are also quite reliable devices with a basic set of functions, but they are not designed for continuous long-term operation. If you plan to use the chipper only a few times per season, you can get by with inexpensive Chinese-made equipment, such as Sadko, IKRA or Iron Angel..

Garden shredder VIKING GB 460 CVIKING GB 460 C

When it comes to purchasing stationary or trailed equipment, it is better to give preference to local manufacturers operating at the national or regional level. The main advantage of such equipment is high maintainability and availability of components, the possibility of direct contact with the manufacturer and a high probability of successful filing of a complaint in the event of a malfunction..

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